What is intelligence and IQ ?
There’s no single consensus on the definition of the word intelligence. It has, however, been generally understood as the capacity for logic, understanding, self-awareness, learning, emotional knowledge, reasoning, planning, creativity, critical thinking and problem-solving.
Renowned American psychologist Dr. Howard Gardner also posits that there are multiple forms of intelligence: linguistic, logical-mathematical, spatial, musical, bodily-kinesthetic, interpersonal, intrapersonal and naturalist.
It is recognised that a child’s intelligence can be nurtured and developed over time. Even at the infant stage, babies learn language simply by listening to and interacting with other human beings. Free play in young children also has numerous cognitive benefits, such as better memory and growth of the cerebral cortex. The development of spatial intelligence, reasoning, mathematical and language skills are also enhanced by childhood play.
IQ, which stands for intelligence quotient, is a measure of someone’s reasoning ability. It indicates how adeptly a person uses information and logic to answer questions or make predictions. A person’s ability to solve puzzles and recall information may also be tested.
IQ scores are widely used for educational placements, assessment of an intellectual disability and even in evaluating job applicants for certain professions. However, research has shown that a high IQ does not necessarily translate to success in life, or indicate that someone possesses good interpersonal skills or other abilities leading to a high quality of life.
What is the relationship between intelligence and learning?
Whilst intelligence and learning are separate concepts, they do correlate in terms of the actual activity of learning. Findings from studies on the relationship between intelligence and learning find little differences when measuring their participant’s intelligence (via IQ tests) and their ability to learn. This seems to indicate a strong correlation between intelligence and learning.
How is an assessment carried out by Thomson Kids?
Our psychologist uses the Wechsler scales of intelligence to measure your child’s cognitive abilities. The Wechsler tests of intelligence are one of the most widely used and recognised in the world.
They were originally developed by Romanian-American psychologist David Wechsler in 1939. After publishing the first intelligence test for an adult population (the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale), his scale was extended for younger people. The Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children (WISC) measures intelligence and cognitive ability in children between the ages of 6 and 16.
The IQ tests usually consist of a number of different subtests, each measuring different cognitive skills. It does not require your child to read and write. Some tests require your child to give an oral response to a question, while some tests require them to look at pictures and point to an answer.
IQ tests are designed to reflect your child’s ability to follow instructions, plan and organise materials and thoughts. They may take into account complicated social and ethical questions, general knowledge, logic, reasoning and the use of language.
These cognitive skills are accumulated over a time and your child cannot ‘study’ to take an intelligence test. The best thing a parent can do to prepare your child for the test is to make sure they are well rested, not hungry or thirsty and not made unduly anxious by the test.
Why is an intelligence (IQ) assessment important?
In the case of children, an intelligence assessment is important in understanding their learning abilities and identifying specific areas of strengths and weakness. The assessment can also shed insight into why they may be under-performing in school.
For example, children with lower IQ scores may have a harder time grasping concepts and completing work in a classroom setting. Children with higher IQ scores may become bored or uninterested in lessons, and consequently under-perform as well.
As such, an intelligence assessment can aid psychologists in making recommendations for the appropriate school environment for your child. It also helps teachers understand a student’s cognitive capabilities, and apply the appropriate methods of instruction to promote learning.
When parents understand their child’s cognitive strengths and weaknesses, they can support their children at home to optimise their learning potential as well. Even though intelligence and IQ does not restrict a child’s capacity for learning, it can offer guidance for understanding their ability level, help parents set realistic expectations and develop their child’s growth mindset.